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Friday, January 15, 2010


I'm wrapping up a tutorial on caching (probably a two-parter), and thought I'd give you a bit on building some retrieval skills.

What is Geocaching?  According to -
Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online. Geocaching is enjoyed by people from all age groups, with a strong sense of community and support for the environment.
Obviously, if you are hiding a personal cache, you don't want the world to know where you've stashed your stuff!  When you are caching your own supplies, you will use a number of techniques for identifying and re-acquiring the location of your cache.  Using a GPS device is only one of them.  And because of the precision of GPS coordinates, maintaining the security of those coordinates is of paramount importance.

What geocaching will do, is allow you to practice those retrieval skills.  A side benefit I have found is it gets you out of your normal environment.  It takes you to places you may never have considered for hiding your own cache.  

It also gives you a "cover story" if you are out scouting locations.  If someone sees you snooping around and happens to call the police with a "suspicious person" report, having your GPS and the print-out of the geocache can get you off the hook.  If you read a lot of the comments posted on the site, you will see this happens on a fairly regular basis.

When I've done some of my geocaching runs, I also bring along a topography map (a 'topo').  I use the National Geographic, "Topo! Outdoor Recreation Mapping Software" program to print up topo maps for every area I'm scouting.  The version I have also includes trail maps, so it helps me in identifying areas that are both remote, but still accessible.

Accept The Challenge

As with most preparedness skills, practice is important.  I tell this to my firearms students at virtually every class - skills are perishable.  They are a, "use it or lose it" deal.

I try to search for geocaches that have instructions that include physical landmarks.  This is one of the very important tools needed for locating personal caches in lieu of GPS coordinates which I'll get into with the full caching post.

A good friend of mine uses geocaching as a way to break up long-distance driving boredom for his kids.  If they're driving to LA from the Bay Area, for instance.  They'll plot out a number of geocaches along the way so the kids don't go stir-crazy.

Go to the website and register for free.  You'll get a weekly newsletter, and it will also allow you to search their database for geocaches near you.  It's a lot of fun, and is a great skill-building exercise.

Copyright 2009 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

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